Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Shot / Drink

     One of my favorite drinks of all time is the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I've had it both as a shot and a drink. I primarily like it as a drink because it is so DELICIOUS that I want to savor it for as long as possible! It really tastes more like dessert with a subtle kick than drinking alcohol. I may also be partial to it because of the great memories with friends that come to mind. In leui of the new year, I thought I would share the recipe. 

For the Shot:

  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice (chilled)
  • 1/2 oz vanilla vodka
  • splash of grenadine
  1. Mix pineapple juice and vanilla vodka in a shaker with ice until chilled. Strain into shot glass.
  2. Add a splash of grenadine and let settle to the bottom. 
  3. Serve and enjoy!
(Courtesy of BarMeister)

For the Drink: 

  • 3 oz (1 double shot) of vanilla vodka
  • 5 to 13oz pineapple juice (chilled), depending on the size of the glass/your taste
  • splash of grenadine
  1. Fill a tall glass with ice.
  2. Mix vodka and pineapple juice in a shaker. I would suggest tasting before straining into glass to see if the drink is strong enough/too strong for your taste. Add more pineapple juice if too strong or more vodka if not strong enough. That's the beauty of mixing at home - you can mix until it tastes perfect! 
  3. Strain into glass.
  4. Add a splash of grenadine. Let it settle to the bottom.
  5. Enjoy!
(Adaption from BarMeister's Recipe

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Breakfast Pizza

  • 1 (8-ounce) can reduced-fat refrigerated crescent dinner roll dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or use Original Mrs Dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Separate dough into triangles. Press triangles together to form a single round crust on a 12-inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.
  3. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain.
  4. If you like your hash browns crunchier, cook in skillet until lightly browned. 
  5. Top prepared dough with sausage, potatoes, and cheese. Combine milk, salt, pepper, and egg substitute, stirring with a whisk. Carefully pour milk mixture over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until crust is browned.
(Adapted from Cooking Light)

Adventures with this Recipe:

     Word of advice: If you don't put this on a pizza pan or some other pan with a lip around the edge, make sure you place aluminum foil under the crust and form your own border. 

    I decided to make this on my air-bake cookie sheet (lined with foil for easy cleanup) because I don't have a pizza pan, only a pizza stone that I did not want egg/cheese baking/burning into it. So about 5 minutes before I was going to take it out, I checked on it only to discover that the egg had run not only out of the pizza and onto the pan, but also had dripped down into the bottom of the stove. NOT HAPPY. I knew that the egg was obviously runny, but I had expected that if it did in fact escape out of the pizza that it would probably just cook in place on the air-bake sheet. I was mistaken. What a mess. The upside: It still tasted delicious!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Parmesan Squash Bake

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2-3 medium butternut/summer squash
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2-1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4c. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small pan, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Pan fry the diced onion until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Pour the onion mixture into the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish.
  3. Slice the zucchini and squash into thin slices. Layer them into 4 rows across in the dish, over the onions. Slowly drizzle the olive oil over the pieces until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top of the dish. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the vegies are soft and slightly golden brown.
(Courtesy of Sunday Baker )

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cast Iron Skillet Cookie

(Picture is before baking)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk or half and half - whatever is on hand)
  • Chocolate Chips - I used 1/2 bag Semi-Sweet & 1/2 bag Milk Chocolate (I would suggest adding whatever flavor of "chips" you like... I want to expirament with butterscotch and toffee chips in the future. Don't worry - there will be an update)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease skillet with a light coating of canola oil (Rubbed on via a paper towel).
  2. In bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt
  3. In separate bowl, mix butter and sugars until light and creamed together
  4. Add egg, vanilla, and cream and stir to incorporate
  5. Combine with flour mixture until well mixed
  6. Stir in chocolate chips
  7. Press lightly into cast iron skillet
  8. Bake about 35-40 minutes or until edges are golden 
  9. To remove from skillet: Allow to cool completely and place plate over the top of cookie. Turn skillet upside down while holding plate in place. If your skillet is well seasoned, it will fall out without a problem. Place your serving plate on the backside of the cake and hold in place as you flip it right side up again. 

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

  • 1½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and the melted butter.
  3. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar and beat for an additional couple of minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs and yolk, eggnog, brandy and vanilla and beat again until completely combined and smooth. Finally, beat in the flour, nutmeg and salt and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the filling over the crust. Set the pan in a larger pan (a 9×13-inch works for this), and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the baking pan from the water bath, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Cut into 1½x3-inch bars. Lightly dust the tops of the bars with freshly grated nutmeg just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
(Courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker and Martha Stewart)

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

  • 1 pound flank or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
  • 1 pound broccoli florets, blanched
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water
  • Beef Marinade:
    • 2 tsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
    • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Sauce:
    • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  1. Make the marinade: Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Let stand for 10 minutes
  2. Make the sauce: Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. 
  3. Blanch the broccoli: Cook the broccoli in a small pot of boiling, salted water until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly. 
    • If you want to cheat: buy a bag of frozen broccoli florets that steam in the bag. I cooked it in the microwave for only the minimum time per bag instructions.
  4. Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the sesame oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and immediately spread the strips out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink.
  5. Pour in the sauce.
  6. Add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil.
  7. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, 30 seconds.
  8. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Courtesy of Can You Stay For Dinner - Beef and Broccoli

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Glazed Pork Chops

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp McCormick Salt Free/MSG Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning 
    • (original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp garlic powder & 1/2 tsp salt - I didn't have the garlic powder and I really don't like adding salt if at all possible)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a bowl, mix the brown sugar and spices until well combined.
  3. Rub the brown sugar/spice mix all over both sides of the pork chops. Use all of the spice mix.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork chops. Cook the pork chops for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned.
  5. Transfer chops to a foil-lined pan/casserole dish sized to accommodate the chops. Pour excess juice from the skillet over the chops. Bake in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to ensure they are thoroughly cooked (should be white in the middle).
  6. Remove the chops from the oven and drag each side around in the thick glaze that has formed around the chops in the pan prior to serving.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Coconut Chicken Curry

A New Frontier...

Cooking a curry dish is a first for me. I have always loved eating curry dishes out at restaurants but I have felt a little intimidated to try this at home. For my first attempt at curry, I was thankful this dish came out very tasty. Next time I fix this dish, I will try pork and probably add some spice. It was good and flavorful by itself but I like mine with a little more kick. Enjoy!

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bag (abt 1 dozen) red potatoes, chunked
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt to taste
  • rice

Chicken Prep:
  • Either Bake chicken at 350 degrees for ~30 minutes (until done). OR Boil chicken 30-45 minutes. OR cheat/save some time and buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
Vegetable Prep:
  • While the chicken is baking, bring a medium stock pot of water boil for the carrots and potatoes. Add the carrots first since they take a little longer to cook. After about 10 minutes add the potatoes to the pot and continue to boil for about 20-30 minutes (or until potatoes and carrots are tender). Drain vegetables.
Rice Prep:
  • I used jasmine rice to serve under the chicken curry. Follow package directions for whatever serving size you would like to prepare. The package I used suggested using chicken stock and white wine instead of water. This gave it a much richer flavor. I fixed 8 servings of rice which traditionally calls for 3 cups of water. I substituted 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of wine.                                  
Curry Directions:
  1. In a large, deep pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are near translucent. 
  2. Add curry powder and shredded chicken, stir until well mixed. cook for another minute.
  3. Add potatoes and carrots. Continue to stir. 
  4. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Keep stirring
  5. Add sugar and salt to taste (mine came out without needing salt). keep stirring until well mixed. I let it cook for another minute.
Serve chicken over a bed of rice and enjoy!

Inspired by Leah’s Coconut Chicken Curry

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), cooked and shredded
  • 6 small flour tortillas
  • 2 cups of Mexican cheese blend, shredded 
  • 1 14-oz can of red enchilada sauce (mild or medium, to your taste)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped cilantro, to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk thoroughly together honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic. 
  3. In a medium bowl, pour this mixture over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. The original recipe used a griddle to heat the tortillas. I placed the tortillas between 2 damp paper towels and heated them in the microwave for 45 secornds.
  5. Spray the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray. 
  6. In a medium bowl combine the enchilada sauce and the heavy cream. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the bottom of the oiled baking dish. 
  7. Add about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture to the center of each tortilla in a line. 
  8. Cover the chicken with a large tablespoon of cheese, then roll the tortilla up from one side to make a rolled enchilada.
  9. Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken, cheese and tortillas. 
  10. You will use about 1 & 1/2 cups of the cheese for the filling and set the remainder aside for topping the enchiladas in the pan. 
  11. Pour the remaining enchilada mixture over the top of all the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  12. Bake the enchiladas for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and starting to brown on top.
Inspired by Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

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